Established as they are, Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, the Brooklyn-based duo behind Teengirl Fantasy, remain a very oddball proposition. Their music incorporates tropes of classic and contemporary analog synth-based house and techno, but these elements are molded into tracks that don't really attempt to cater to the dancefloor. Obviously, they can crank out party jams when they feel like it—"Cheaters," for instance, still sounds incredible two years after its initial release. Teengirl, however, seems to prefer to sculpt and structure its sound around the duo's impulsive, jam-based working dynamic, its members directing their efforts toward making actual songs while still leaving room for these songs to breathe or transform significantly—if they will it. The group doesn't pander, and its music is all the more compelling and original for it.
This 12-inch single, Teengirl Fantasy's debut for the long-running R&S label and a lead-up to its forthcoming second LP, Tracer (which is to be released by R&S outside the USA, while True Panther will handle the stateside release), features a song unique to this release, "Motif," as well as a remix by Actress and an album cut from Tracer. Not only are all three tracks incredibly different, they're all quite compelling.
"Motif" is, for a brief passage towards the end, a heavenly piano-house track, but elsewhere it is unclassifiable—a blissed drift through Teengirl's ecstatic, nebulous dream-house realm. In the song's seven minutes, there are at least three or four significant stylistic and rhythmic shifts, and even when the rhythms are relatively straightforward, the whirl of synths is busy cultivating a psychedelic mélange that's too delightfully disorienting to even think about dancing to. A feeling of longing underscores both this tune and "Eternal," the Tracer album cut included here. Whereas "Motif" moves along a deeper, more cosmic trajectory, "Eternal" is a more succinct, rhythmically insistent track—it keeps the same midtempo pulse and tight array of synths until three-quarters of the way through, when it enters the kind of Balearic, joyous domain that Takahashi and Weiss tend to casually dip into when their push-and-pull dynamic calls for it.
Actress' remix of the title track is very much in keeping with the English producer's other work—it's minimal, hissing, subtly soulful, and hypnotic. The resemblance to the original is difficult to detect. Really, it straight up sounds like an original Actress track, one that could easily have fit on his marvelous, recently released R.I.P LP. Following Teengirl Fantasy's strong showing on "Motif," perhaps nobody should be surprised if the pair's upcoming LP lands in similarly lofty territory.